Malalai Joya, world renowned civil rights activist and former member of the Afghan parliament who is forced to live underground because of threats to her live, speaks about the realitiy of the occupation from the point of view of Afghans and especially Afghan women. NATO and U.S.forces have killed thousands of innocent civilians like in Kunduz and installed a warlord system, she says. The Afghans have protested against it. But nobody would listen to them. The Karzai government in Kabul goes along with the crimes. Joya: It's a corrupt puppet regime of the occupiers.
Malalai Joya, Afghan politician and activist, Kabul
Fabian Scheidler: Welcome to Kontext TV. For about a decade now NATO and US armed forces have been waging a war in Afghanistan. As such this war has lasted longer than the Second World War or that following the invasion of Vietnam.
David Goessmann: The casualty figures are at an all time high. In the first half of 2011, according to the UN, 1 500 civilians were killed. Compared to the year before, this is an increase of about 30 percent. Last year according to the French news agency AFP over 10 000 people have died from consequences of this war, including by UN accounts, over 2 700 civilians. 2010 was the bloodiest year in Afghanistan since the start of the war.
Fabian Scheidler: The International Red Cross emphatically warns of a worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The conditions for delivering to Afghanistan relief supplies have reached its worse point since entering the country 30 years ago during the Soviet occupation.
David Goessmann: In this programme we want to review the overall situation. How do things actually look in Afghanistan? What’s behind the battle against terrorism and fundamentalism? What do the drone attacks on Pakistan mean? Is the war at all credibly justified? And what do the Afghanis think about the war in their country?
Fabian Scheidler: According to a new report from Refugee International in the last two years, due to the fighting, 250 000 Afghanis have flown from their villages. The non-governmental organization criticizes the US and NATO military operation. Quote: “The increasing number of aerial attacks from ISAF and the Afghani security forces, as well as the night raids from US Special Forces destroy houses, harvests and elementary infrastructure. They traumatize civilians and displace tens of thousands of people.” According to Refugee International the number of people in Afghanistan who have had to flee from their homes has doubled in the last year.
David Goessmann: We’ll show now a short section from the documentary film „Kabul Daily Life“ from the Spanish film maker Alberto Arce. Last summer he visited a refugee camp in Helmand and spoke with the people there.
"There they bomb us and here nobody wants to help us. Our leaders don't listen to us and this situation has been like this for three years now. Everybody knows that fire is burning Afghanistan."
"What have Americans brought us? Did they bring houses with them? Have they fiven money to us? Do we have education thanks to them? Tell me one good thing they brought here! We were poor before and we are poor now."
"And us, the poors, we are always the victims. Those who have options are only the wealthy people. We have been bombed by the Russians and the Americans, and this government has bombed us as well. We just want peace and a stable situation, as good muslims we are tired of this war."
Fabian Scheidler: That was an excerpt from “Kabul Daily Life” from Alberto Arce. The Link to the documentary film can be found on our Homepage at www.kontext-tv.de
David Goessmann: We’d like to turn now to Kabul to talk to Malalai Joya. Malalai Joya is a former member of the afghan parliament and a harsh critic of the warlords, fundamentalists, Taliban and the US and NATO occupation of Afghanistan. In 2007 she was suspended from the rest of her term because she had publicly criticized the Afghani parliament. In 2009 appeared her book in German “I raise my voice – A women fights against the war in Afghanistan.” The BBC once described Joya as „the bravest women in Afghanistan“. In 2010 Time Magazine added her to one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Joya has survived numerous attacks on her life and has to live in hiding. Out of security concerns we were only able to reach her in Kabul over the cell phone.
Fabian Scheidler: Malalai Joya, you must live underground with body guards protecting you. Why is that?
Malalai Joya: Because - Not only me. Most of our people right now in the presence of tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan we don't have security. Millions of Afghans suffer from injustice, corruption, poverty, joblessness and so many other miseries and difficulties as well. Because of telling the truth. And I exposed the masks of these fundamentalist warlords who are mentally the same like Taliban but only physically has been changed. And after 9/11 tragedy imposed on our people. And I also raised the voice against the occupation forces and the wrong policies of western governments U.S. and Nato and others that finance. I think these are the reasons that they want to eliminate me. That is why I have to be careful and disguise in burka and have bodyguards. It's not safe. When you compare my life with the dark period of the Taliban on that time it was risky especially for women rights, human rights activists under burka. I was active on that time as well as a teacher, as an underground teacher. But now despite we are in burka and with bodyguards it's not safe. Changing the houses and receiving death threats. And many of the Afghans get these terrorist threats. And still not feeling safe. As day by day the situation is getting worse especially regarding security. Even in Kabul our people we don't have security.
Fabian Scheidler: Describe for our listeners and viewers in Germany and Europe what the situation is like in Afghanistan right now. It's almost ten years after the invasion of Afghanistan by U.S. and Nato forces.
Malalai Joya: Now my people are living like in a hell. We are squashed between threefold enemies: warlords, taliban and occupation forces. Cccupation forces are bombing from the sky killing innocent civilians. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians, most of them women and children during these 10 years of occupation have been killed by U.S. and Nato troops. And even did masscres. And still this tragedy is going on. On the ground taliban and warlords continue to commit crimes against men and women of our country. For example recently 26 of July three innocent civilians have been killed by air strikes of Nato in Kunar province. On 14 of July six civilians once have been killed Khost province. Again on 14 of July another 13 civilians have been killed. Agian most of them women and children. People have huge demonstrations. Thousands of people attended the demonstrations. But nobody listens to these voices of innocent civilians who raise their voice against occupation, against this puppet Karzai mafia regime. The situation for the women is worse than ever. For example rape and islamistic violence is exceeded against girls at school. And many other violences increasing rapidly. Recently on 23 of July a six years old girl in Takhar province she has been raped. And maybe you also heard that official report that Afghanistan is the worst place for the women to be a mother here. Now Afghanistan after ten years of occupation is the top producer of the opium in the world. Afghanistan is the second most corrupt country in the world. And many other examples that day by day the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse. And U.S. and Nato by inviting these terrorists taliban to join the government they push our country more to war, tragedy, desaster and dark ages.
David Goessmann: Can you also talk about refugees and unemployment in Afghanistan?
Malalai Joya: The situation for most of our people is not good. That is why each time easily so many Afghans try to leave Afghanistan, going to countries like Iran, like Pakistan. Especially in Iran the fascist regime, dictatur regime of Iran they are committing a lot of crimes against these Afghans. Kill them at the borders or inside of Iran. They punish them a lot. And nobody will ask them. Because our government is a puppet government. A corrup mafia regime. And Iran regime has their own puppets here in Hamid Karzai's regime who have blood on their hands.
Fabian Scheidler: What are Afghan people saying about the foreign troops in their country. What do they think about ISAF? What do they think about the U.S. military?
Malalai Joya: Our country has been occupied. And the disdain of people day by day getting more. Unfortunately these troops are bombing from the sky killing civilians. All of these war crimes and massacres. White House says "apologize". Karzai's puppet regime says "thank you". That is it. And even uses white phosphorus and cluster bombs. Democracy never comes by cluster, white phosphorus bombs. This ten years of occupation of U.S. and Nato they impose on Afghan people a carricatur of democracy but with bloody hands. Our parliament unfortunately is a completely non-democratic parliament. Most of the memebers of parliament are warlords, druglords, even taliban who have bloodiest hands. And they fight parliamentarians, terrorize those who accuse who have bloody hands. And Afghan people hate them. Like Rhabbani, like Mohaqiq and many others. These are criminal lords and other warlords who are right now in the parliament. In the previous parliament also. They made amnesty law that criminals forgive themselves. And it was easy to pass this law because majority seats belongs to these warlord, druglords. And it was not election. People believe it was a selection. This election also was selection. Especially during this ten years these warlords have become more powerful. And it is easier for them to hijack the result of the election. We have a famous saying: "It is not important who is voting. It is important who is counting." That's the problem of the Afghan people. In the mean time millions of Afghans they boycott election especially well-educated, actors that we have, freedom-loving, democratic-minded people that we have, they also boycott the elections. As I boycott as well the elections. Elections under the of warlordism, druglordism, awful corruption, occupation forces has no legitimacy at all. No question election is a main process of democracy. But unfortunately it has become a tool in the hands of U.S., Nato, these occupiers and their puppets to give legitimacy to their own puppet regime. That is why this is not a national house. This is just the house of the enemies of the Afghan people. Democratic-minded parlamentarian, men and women, are very few in these houses. Even with your fingers you can't count them. They are in minority, not majority.
David Goessmann: In September 4 2009 an air strike on fuel trucks near Kundus was ordered by a German army officer. Nato states that up to 142 people were killed in the attack. Among them many civilians, children. It was the bloodiest and most controversial military attack by the German Bundeswehr after World War II. Could you talk about that?
Malalai Joya: It was really to much for Afghan people. We cannot find any word except of war crime to tell you. Because it just was a massacre. And it was not new for Afghan people. Unfortunately it was not the only massacre, the only war crime we witnessed. Many other massacres as well. For example in Farah province as well these occupation forces, the American troops did bomb and in Sar-i-Pul district 150 civilians have been killed. More than Kundus civilians. They even use white phosphorus cluster bombs. Even U.S. and Nato troops they are bombing our wedding parties. Like they did in Nangarhar in Nooristan. It's still the crimes continue. You can see the picture of these innocent civilians, you can see as well most of them women and children. Maybe you heard about the kill teams. Kill teams that even made fun with the dead bodies of Afghan people. This report even published in Spiegel as well. Just make fun with dead bodies with Afghans. And these Afghans also have conciousness and no one of them will sit silence. They raise their voice against these crimes. And U.S. government again wants to put all the responsibility of all these crimes of ten years on the shoulders of these few soldiers. They said to their people that they bring them to the court. It is pointless. It is nothing. Just deceiving. They should withdraw all of their troops as soon as possible from Afghanistan.
Fabian Scheidler: In Europe and the U.S. it is often argued that if the troops were now pulled out of Afghanistan there would be a civil war and the Taliban would take over with their repressiv regime. What is your your comment on this?
Malalai Joya: I hear it many times from the mainstream media. As it is not only military violence. Unfortunately this is propaganda war as well. Mainstream media is a tool in the hands of these occupiers, these war mongerers that shape the mind of the people as they wish in the wrong direction as really they are saying to the people around the world the war of Afghanistan is good war. War of Iraq is bad war. And nowadays they are talking about this kind of propadanda if the troops leave civil war will happen. But nobody is talking about todays civil war. As long as these troops will be here and bombing from the sky and killing innocent civilians under the name of taliban the more civil war will be. I think this occupation has trippled our problems and miseries. When the troops leave honestly if U.S. and Nato leave at least the backbone of these fundamentalists warlords will brake. Otherwise they will get more powerful and it will be easier for them to eliminate democratic minded forces that we have more than four, five parties and intellectuals who we have who are still underground and facing a lot of problems and risk. And if they will continue this wrong policy as they are doing it will be much easier to eliminate them. Let's support them as they are honest for the future, the brigth future of Afghanistan. They keep the situation of Afghanistan lawless, unsafe like now to have an excuse to stay longer here for their own interests. .
Fabian Scheidler: Thank you for the interview, Malalai Joya.